A New York City man has been charged in the brutal beating of his two stepchildren. One of the toddlers died as a result of the attack, the New York Post reports.
Kelsey “Shawn” Smith, 20, was charged with assault on Monday after the incident, which occurred in a Brooklyn homeless shelter. He insisted that he just “tapped” 3-year-old Jedia Torres and didn’t mean to hurt or kill her. Smith also allegedly punched Jeida’s older brother, 5-year-old Andrew Torres, who remains in stable condition at a medical center.
According to the Post, a neighbor had called 911 over the weekend after hearing the kids desperately crying, “Stop!”
“He said he didn’t mean to hurt her. It was an accident,’’ Angelica Collazo, the sister of Smith’s stepfather, told the Post. “My brother told him to ‘man up’ and pay for his mistake.”
However, Smith, allegedly distraught because of his own actions, tried to take his own life by cutting his wrists. “He did it both ways, up and down and side to side. He said he wanted to be with Jeida and that’s why he tried to kill himself,” Collazo added.
According to the Post, Smith said that Jeida was being “fussy,” and so he punished her and put her in a corner in her room. After she came out of the room, he just “went to tap her” but accidentally caught her in her chest.
“He said she was able to stand up afterward, but a few minutes later, he said, he saw her on the floor and she was not OK,” Collazo said. “He tried to do CPR on her, but he didn’t know how to do CPR on a baby. That’s why she was all bruised up on her chest.’’
That did not explain the bruises on Jeida’s face and arms, the Post notes, or the bruises on Andrew.
According to a separate report by the Post, Andrew told authorities that Smith, who became angry after Jeida messed up her diaper, pushed the dirty diaper into the girl’s face and told her to eat it. He then, according to the little boy, kicked his sister and banged her head into a crib.
Andrew told police that he was trying to protect his sister when he was hit himself.
Smith, the Post notes, recently married the children’s mother. A neighbor told the Post that every night she could hear sounds of violence coming from the apartment. “Every night, he beating on her, she screaming,” the neighbor said. “He accusing her of going with other men, then, after the beating, like nothing happen. She laughing, carrying on, and the babies still crying.
“If you got a rap sheet like that man, why are you allowed in a shelter with all us women and children?” the neighbor continued, referring to Smith, who reportedly has a record that includes 15 arrests.
Meanwhile, the children’s distraught biological father, Pedro Torres, is just hoping to seek custody of his remaining child at a Brooklyn Family Court.
“I just want to have my kid. I want to have my son. He’s everything to me,” Pedro Torres told the Post after a custody hearing on Tuesday.